About the 2017 Outstanding Corporate Innovator Committee

    Suzanne Thompson, Chair joined Sealed Air in 2015 as Vice President Diversey Care R&D. In this role, she leads all R&D for Diversey Care including their innovation pipeline and project management.  Prior to Sealed Air, she worked in Research & Development at the Clorox Company for 29 years. Clorox roles included Vice President R&D, Growth labs where Suzanne led a cross-functional team to help identify, assess and create pipelines for potential adjacencies as well as led global technology, design, and open innovation.    Suzanne also had roles leading Cleaning and Speciality Division R&D teams for Clorox. She has had experience in process development, product development and packaging development for divisions such as Kingsford Charcoal, Laundry, Home Care, Auto, Foods, Litter and Professional products. In addition to leading the Outstanding Corporate Innovator Award Selection Committee, Suzanne is on PDMA’s board of directors.

    A native of Missouri, Suzanne holds a master’s degree in chemical engineering from the University of California, Berkeley and a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts.

    Serdar Durmusoglu is an associate professor of marketing at the School of Business Administration, University of Dayton. He earned his Ph.D. in marketing from Michigan State University. He also holds an MBA from Purdue University and a bachelor’s degree in mathematics. Dr. Durmu̧soglu’s main research area is new product development (NPD), with special interest in NPD strategy and product innovation decisions, interaction of NPD teams with internal departments and external parties, the effect of information technology on NPD, and open innovation. His work has been published in The Journal of Product and Innovation Management, Industrial Marketing Management, and R&D Management, among others. He is also a co-editor of Product Development Management Association’s book, New Product Development Essentials: Tools for Open Innovation. Further, Serdar is on the editorial board of Journal of Product and Innovation Management and Industrial Marketing Management and a member of PDMA’s Academic Committee.

    Paul Falkenstein is the Senior Director, Corporate Strategic Innovation Group. Paul joined Becton Dickinson in 1998 and has held various positions of increasing responsibility in Marketing and General Management. His current responsibilities include the implementation and execution of BD’s Innovation Process and Strategic Intelligence Center. Paul's experience lies in product development, strategic marketing, and the staging of new product introductions and portfolio planning for sustained business growth. Prior to this role, Paul was responsible for the Cell Therapy Enablement initiative and the worldwide development and implementation of the Global Product Development System (GPDS).

    Paul has over 25 years of Sales, Marketing, and R&D experience in the medical device industry with companies including Johnson & Johnson and I-Stat Corporation. Paul holds a BS in Biochemistry and an MBA from Rider University

    Wayne Fisher PhD, founded Rockdale Innovation after retiring from P&G in 2012.  While at P&G, Wayne created a series of popular innovation workshops for all phases of new product development.  He has trained thousands of managers, providing a common language and framework for innovation, fostering collaboration across P&G’s diverse business units and regions.  Prior to retiring, he served as a full-time creativity consultant and innovation facilitator at The GYM, an IDEO-inspired design studio in West Chester and a key enabler of P&G’s innovation capability. Wayne received his PhD in Chemical Engineering from the University of Massachusetts, and has been granted 18 US patents.

    Sally Evans Kay spent 36 years with The Dow Chemical Company and GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare. After assignments in R&D, Finance, Sales and Marketing her career was focused on various areas of innovation and new product development. Since retiring she has started her own consulting business, Strategic Product Development, which focuses on the front end of the innovation process. She also mentors start-ups and entrepreneurs through various programs in the Cincinnati area and at Purdue University.

    Sally has been active in The Product Development & Management Association (PDMA) since 1988 both nationally and at the chapter level. She serves on the Outstanding Corporate Innovator Award Committee and is the past Chair of The Committee. She was an Associate Editor of the 3rd Edition of the PDMA Handbook of New Product Development and was the author of ‘Lessons Learned from Outstanding Corporate Innovators’, a chapter in the handbook. She was also a presenter in The University of Cincinnati’s MOOC on Innovation and Design Thinking. Sally has a BS in Biology/Chemistry from The University of Pittsburgh and is an honorary Boilermaker.

    Krijn Rietveld, Senior Vice President Innovation, is in DSM Nutritional products responsible for R&D and the Innovation Programs. DSM Nutritional products has dedicated Innovation programs for Animal Nutrition & Health, Human Nutrition & Health, Personal Care and Process Innovations for the existing products. Next to in-house developments there is an increasing focus on external innovation and licensing-in.

    Krijn has worked for DSM since 1985. He held various positions in the company, starting in R&D, followed by roles in businesses, like Business Unit Director Nutritional Ingredients and Business Unit director Enzymes. As of 2006 he is working in Switzerland as Senior Vice-President of DSM Nutritional Products. He has a PhD in Biochemistry from Leiden University and holds an MBA degree from Nyenrode University.

    Jelena Spanjol, Ph.D., is Associate Professor of Marketing in the Liautaud Graduate School of Business at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC). She received her doctorate from the University of Illinois at Urbana‐Champaign. 

    Jelena’s research investigates marketing and innovation strategy and decision making, as well as managerial and consumer goal‐striving dynamics. Her research has been published in the Journal of Marketing, Journal of Product Innovation Management, Journal of the Academy of Marketing Science, Journal of Service Research, Marketing Letters, Journal of Business Ethics, Creativity & Innovation Management, Health Psychology, and in various book chapters. 

    At the UIC Innovation Center, she is the AxIIS (Academy x Industry Innovation Studies) Research Lab lead, focusing on integrating and leveraging academic and industry expertise to generate explanatory and actionable insights for innovation. Jelena teaches the corporate-sponsored Interdisciplinary Product Development (IPD) course at UIC, along with the marketing management capstone MBA course, international marketing, and a doctoral seminar on the topic of “Perspectives on Innovation”. 

    In addition to serving on the OCI selection committee,  Jelena is the current Vice President (VP) of Academics for PDMA and an editorial board member for the Journal of Product Innovation Management (JPIM) and Creativity & Innovation Management (CIM).

    Hamsa Thota is a Past-President and Chairman of the Product Development and Management Association. He is co-author of “Key Concepts in Innovation,” a fundamental reference book for innovation professionals and students of innovation. Dr. Thota published scholarly articles on implementation of product development best practices with Thota framework for innovation in China and India. Thota framework is a systematic approach to improve product development performance in underperforming organizations. He is also a contributing author to Innova food market trends. 

    Dr. Thota worked for Rich Products Corporation R&D for 25 years. At Rich Products he researched and developed new products, created new manufacturing methods, apparatus and processes (Intellectual Property) and transferred technologies to deliver continuous streams of new products from the product pipeline. Dr. Thota obtained and commercialized his own 10 US patents. Dr. Thota made unique contribution to food product development leadership practice by applying rigorous scientific thinking in dynamic food business development.

    Dr. Thota has 13 years of product development and innovation performance management consulting and training experience. He conducts workshops on New Product Development, and Front End of Innovation for the PDMA in China and India. He also conducted PDMA New Product Development Professional (NPDP) certification preparation workshops for PDMA in China and India. Dr. Thota delivered lectures and trained more than 25 Chinese high tech SMEs in Shenzhen, Wuhan, and Zhengzhou at the invitation of Chinese government, and State Owned Enterprises (SOE) in Beijing. He was a visiting professor at the Management School of the Zhejiang University in China and taught a course on technology innovation management. He was appointed visiting Professor at the Geely Automotive Engineering Institute in Hangzhou. Geely is the largest privately held automotive manufacturer in China. 

    Dr. Thota received Ph.D. in Food Science and Dairy Manufacturing from the University of Georgia. He is a certified NPDP from PDMA.

    Yasmine Winkler works at United Healthcare as the Community & State CEO for the Central Region and Chief Consumer Officer. Formerly she was the Chief Marketing, Product and Innovation Officer for United Healthcare, Employer and Individual. Her extensive experience across many disciplines and market segments in health insurance has given her a unique ability to develop and match health insurance business solutions to the needs of the marketplace.

    With over 30 years in the health insurance industry, she has extensive experience in accreditation, quality improvement, business process development, marketing, product development and innovation. In addition to her work at UnitedHealth Group, she held several positions with BlueCross/BlueShield of Illinois, Texas, New Mexico and Oklahoma (HCSC) as well as Chicago HMO.

    She attended Northeastern Illinois University and received her B.A. in English and Environmental Studies. She has a M.S in Health Care Delivery Science from the Tuck School of Business and the Geisel School of Medicine at Dartmouth College.  She is an alumna of the Chicago-based Leadership Greater Chicago program, served on the NHHF Board and is a member of Women in the Boardroom, National Hispanic Latina Institute (NHLI), The Alumni Society, the National Association of Hispanic Nurses – Council of Business (NAHN CoBA) and PDMA.    

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